Drunk driving is one of the top causes of fatal traffic accidents across the United States as well as in Maryland. In fact, so far this year, there have already been 130 fatal traffic accidents caused by drunk driving in Maryland alone. This represents about one-third of all fatal traffic accidents.
Maryland lawmakers, police, and judges all take drunk driving seriously, and the state has a strict system in place to punish those who are found to have driven while intoxicated. Moreover, in cases when another party is hurt due to the driver’s negligent decision to get behind the wheel while he or she is intoxicated, Maryland law allows for the injured party to file a civil claim for damages against the driver as well as his insurance company.
Civil cases brought against a drunk driver proceed under the legal theory of negligence, specifically negligence per se. Negligence per se is a type of negligence claim that is available to plaintiffs when the conduct in which the defendant was engaging at the time of the accident has already been determined to be illegal. For example, since drunk driving is illegal in Maryland, any plaintiff bringing a case against a Maryland drunk driver can benefit from the doctrine of negligence per se.
The doctrine allows plaintiffs to take a “short cut” by not needing to submit proof that the driver’s actions were negligent. Instead, this is inferred by the fact that the conduct has already been made illegal. However, a plaintiff still must prove causation and damages, meaning that the defendant’s conduct was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Man Causes Five-Car Accident While Driving Under the Influence
Earlier this month in New Jersey, several people sustained minor injuries when they were involved in a five-car accident stemming from one man’s decision to get behind the wheel while drinking a bottle of wine. According to one local news source covering the accident, the collision occurred shortly before six in the afternoon when cars were slowed due to rush-hour traffic.
As the allegedly drunk driver approached the line of slow-moving cars, he failed to slow down and crashed into the rear-most car. After that, three other cars were struck in the chain reaction. As a result, the driver’s passenger was hospitalized for pain in her leg. Thankfully, no more serious injuries were reported. Upon police arrival, they noticed that the driver had a partially full bottle of wine open in the cabin. He was cited for drunk driving and released to his girlfriend’s custody.
Have You Been Involved in a Maryland Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a Maryland drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation based on the driver’s decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Call one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC to discuss your case with an attorney today. Calling is free and will not result in any liability for you unless we are able to ultimately able to help you obtain the recovery you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Pedestrian Accidents on the Rise, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published April 4, 2016.
Auto Manufacturers Seek Help from Insurance Companies to Increase Compliance with Safety Recalls, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published April 18, 2016.